FOCUS: What About Customer Experience and Relationships?

Visitors Audience Customers Community

On the lookout for…?

“Relationships?! How do you do that when your business is all about selling boxes of widgets? Folks come to my site, order them and I ship them out…”

This is a common question. You have always viewed your company as one that makes something that others buy (hopefully more than once…), and then you make sure they get it. Pretty much the definition of “transactional”, and, especially if you operate an e-commerce site, you only know them by a name, address and order number. It doesn’t look like the opportunities to establish and grow a relationship, as you’re thinking of it, are that ripe.

…or are they?…

I’ve written before about a descriptive construct I call the VACC. It stands for Visitors/Audience/Customers/Community. There are different ways of looking at the people who interact with your business: The Customer Journey, the Sales Funnel, and so on. Viewing these people through the VACC lens focuses on the stage of the relationship they have with you business, and how you communicate and interact with them. Each stage is valuable and there is no hard line dividing them. Nonetheless, knowing, in greater depth, what each set of these people are looking for, how they act and react to you and your business, what their expectations are, and how you can communicate with them is vital to your business growth. Not knowing is the same as tossing your product out on to a virtual (or real…) sidewalk and hoping the right folks come by.

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The 5 Superior Social Media Posts in April!

The changes to and evolution of the online world never stops…..hence the usual flood of news and tips available. So, for April, here are the articles that really caught my attention!

Facebook 20 percent rule

Look! No Text!

  • Facebook’s 20% Rule – Gone, Not Gone :: Everyone who has ever slammed their head against the desk after submitting their boost or ad for approval on Facebook, only to have it rejected due the dreaded “20% Rule”, cheers this change! However, you need to read the new standard VERY CLOSELY to see what it has morphed into so you don’t get caught in the turbulence.

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Last Chance: Spotlight the Superior January Posts

 January is nearly over!

You have already done all your planning, strategizing and begun implementation for 2016….right?!

Here are my top recommendations for articles that will absolutely impact your business this year and help you make the best use of your resources.

2016 Social Media Trends

2016 Social Media Trends

Top Social Media Trends That’ll Change Your Business in 2016

Needless to say, the social media landscape shifts and evolves frequently and keeping track of what will work, what won’t work and what always works (if there is such a thing…) can be time consuming and maddening. That said, this article provides some keen insight into what to focus on in your social media marketing for 2016. For keeping track of all the changes and mutations, well……you should probably ask for some expert help.

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Exploit Social in 2016! 5 Unparalleled and Revealing Posts

YOU MADE IT!

The big push for Black Friday is over, as is the Thanksgiving holiday (if you’re in the States…). Your business is now poised for the long haul to Christmas and whatever kinds of hours and effort that means for your business and you personally. However, the Internet never stops and, like any good business or professional, you’re thinking past the hats and champagne of the New Year towards 2016 business planning. My monthly 5 best of the best for November will help you. Read them all and then do what you learn.

runners

Paying real attention to your customers’ experience all along their journey will pay off. Customer experience (often abbreviated as CX) is quickly overtaking price and even product as the key competitive differentiator among brands.  This post by Larisa Bedgood of DataMentors touches on three key points you must attend to when moving with this trend.

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How Can All The Personalization Opportunities Possibly Scale!?

I recently attended a half day of training focused on the roles and nuances within the business networking group I belong to. While extremely enlightening and really useful as I work to get a grip on my new role as president in my chapter, I’m struck afresh by the spectrum of differences that we each have as humans.  In the case of the discussions I had, they focused on personality types and learning styles as they pertain to the other members of the group. Extend those classifications to digital marketing, especially as an entrepreneur, and you can begin to feel overwhelmed. It’s one thing to write, say, a message for an email campaign in four different ways to accommodate four personality types, but take the personalization further to learning styles, cultural and generational differences, best channel for communication, etc. and you just might feel that going back to a broadcast “one-size-fits-all” style is just easier, and it used to work OK, so just go for it.  Or maybe walking around wearing a sandwich board!

Not a great idea, although the sandwich board might be pretty good exercise…

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What is Social Proof and Why Should I Care?

You’re always looking for quality shortcuts. Anyway and anything that can help you make a good decision (I don’t Need help making bad decisions…). The Internet has taught us all very well:

  • 80% of consumers search for a product or service online before purchasing it.
  • 70% read online reviews before making purchase decisions.
  • 68% of consumers begin their decision-making while searching for a keyword.
I know that I always begin my search for a purchase or more information about something that may result in a purchase (even something like the weather differences between the Oregon coast and the California coast….could result in a short vacation decision sometime…) by reading reviews and recommendations of many kinds. It’s a way of figuring out who to trust.  Unfortunately, we’ve all heard tales of the system being gamed: bogus reviews on Amazon, Expedia, or Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest followers purchased, questionable endorsements on LinkedIn, and numerous “thumbs-up”s or “+1″s purchased or comped in some way.

What’s real and what isn’t?

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How to unlock your authentic and remarkable voice!

A spectrogram (0-5000 Hz) of the sentence &quo...

A spectrogram (0-5000 Hz) of the sentence “it’s all Greek to me” spoken by a female voice  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have an untold number of things that make you different from the next person. Just ask your roommate, significant other, or neighbor!  You may feel, like I do sometimes, that you don’t have something truly unique to say.  Don’t get hung up on that.  Just say it better and say it your way.

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3 Pointers for a Better LinkedIn Profile

Simple things can have enormous impact. I come across profiles on LinkedIn that are very well thought out, complete, updated regularly, provide a view into the person’s professional credentials and experience, showcase recommendations that are pertinent and have well-designed headlines and summaries that make it easier for anyone who is looking for someone with a particular skill (recruiter, prospective customer, whomever…) to find what they are looking for.

I also come across profiles that barely qualify as blank pages. If you are going to use LinkedIn as a social channel, there are several things you need to do to improve that first impression. Here are 3 pointers that can help you get to a better profile from the beginning:

  • Upload a good, professional pictureNo squirrel pictures allowed. There are people who wish to present an edgier first impression for a number of reasons, but generally you don’t want a visitor to your profile to wonder what you look like. If the goal for your use of LinkedIn is to get a job or attract new customers, you want to look the part, only better. There are any number of good professional photographers who can deliver a great head shot, so splurge a little. As a side note, selfies tend to actually look like selfies, so avoid them. One example I saw was a selfie of someone who was averagely dressed, but I couldn’t help noticing the six pack of beer in the background….
  • Use pertinent key phrases in your headline“I Rock!” is not a headline, by the way. LinkedIn has reworked their Edit Your Profile page to give you suggestions, which can be quite helpful. If you’re unsure what to use, consider the role you are looking for (if you’re looking for a job) or concise phrases describing your experience that you may then expand upon in the summary. You have 120 characters available in the headline and 2,000 in the summary. Use them wisely and don’t be afraid to edit and re-edit to get it right.
  • Get some well-written recommendations“She was great to work with!” is a sentiment, not a recommendation. When you ask others to write you a recommendation, you can help them out by suggesting a couple of projects for which you really did the “heavy lifting”. A vague request for a recommendation often results in something relatively vague, which doesn’t really make the case for you. The more specific the recommender is about the value of your work, the easier it is for the visitor to your profile to make the judgment call on how valuable your contributions would be to their project and business. If your recommender sends you a recommendation that is too vague or isn’t really as helpful as it could be, you have the option of sending it back to them and asking (very kindly, of course…) if they might make a few edits. Don’t feel like you have to take the first draft. Once again, a visitor to your profile is looking at the recommendations for a reason, so they need to reflect your value as accurately as possible. Get them right and get them solid.

While there are many more actions you can take to ensure you have the best profile possible, these are a good start. Here are some other resources you can check out that will help:

Social Media Examiner: 12 Resources to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Business2Community: 5 Killer Resources To Help You Dominate LinkedIn

LinkedIn Blog: Creating A Killer LinkedIn Profile: Tips for Link Humans [INFOGRAPHIC]

Hongkiat: 10 Tips To A More Professional LinkedIn Profile

Forbes: 22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You

HubSpot: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn

If you come across others that you find particularly useful, please post them to the comments.